Professor of Interior Architecture and Design recognized for revitalization efforts in local community
Interior Architecture and Design Professor Stephanie McGoldrick has recently been awarded the Interior Design Educators Council (IDEC) Community Service Award and the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) Impact Stipend for projects completed in the New Bedford community to revitalize park spaces and support small, minority-owned businesses and nonprofit organizations.
“It’s extremely rewarding and humbling to be recognized by two of the most prestigious international interior design organizations,” said McGoldrick. “I’ve always aspired to use my design and lighting expertise to make a lasting impact on the people and places that might not typically have access to these types of services.”
The IDEC Community Service Award honors significant contributions of community service by an individual or group at a national, regional, and/or local level associated with the discipline of interior design. The IIDA Impact Stipend was established in 2020 to recognize and support IIDA members who pursued a new educational goal, supported their design community through mentoring or offering resources, or used their expertise to volunteer in their community. The program awards up to five recipients a $1,000 stipend and IIDA Membership at no cost.
Supporting the local community
McGoldrick was chosen for both awards in recognition for the work she does with her students in the New Bedford community. Some of their projects include lighting solutions for Wings Court park, interior and exterior enhancements for small, minority-owned businesses, space-planning and furniture recommendations for the Community Economic Development Center’s (CEDC) new office after their previous space was lost in a fire, and revitalizing a small pocket park on the corner of Phillips and Acushnet Avenue in New Bedford, using the “Wicked Cool Places” grant to install lighting and purchasing an activity panel to engage families.
“The pocket park revitalization was a critical one, as the park was under scrutiny from local politicians due to unsafe conditions,” said McGoldrick. “The new lighting improves both the safety and security in this space. With a larger grant received this year, we will be adding shade structures and more interactive elements."
“I always include my students in these projects because they are the next generation of designers and need to see firsthand how their skills can impact others, especially communities and individuals who have limited access to design services,” said McGoldrick. “I’m committed to ensuring that my students gain invaluable experiences that will prepare them for the design profession.”
“Professor McGoldrick is one of my closest mentors, especially when it comes to my education and career. She's someone that genuinely cares about the well-being of her students, and it's really inspired me to work through challenges knowing there is someone supporting me,” said junior interior architecture and design major, Daniela Tishchenko.
“We’ve done a lot of community service work together; she was excited to dedicate extra time to help me get real-world experience and to help our community partners. She's always a friend I can talk to as well as a professor that pushes me to create the best work I can. I'm very grateful for all she's done for me.”
Making a difference
McGoldrick notes that it is important to understand that good design is not reserved for the elite, as small changes can make a big impact, and designers can make noticeable differences in their communities.
“Projects like these inspire my students to continue seeking ways to use their creativity and design prowess for good,” said McGoldrick. “It has been wonderful to build meaningful and lasting relationships in the community in and around UMass Dartmouth, and to be seen as someone who is an advocate and supporter of local businesses and community partners.”
McGoldrick, in conjunction with the CEDC, was awarded the $15,000 Open Spaces for People grant in January, sponsored by the Southcoast Community Foundation. Renovations to add shade and family-friendly features to the Phillips Ave Pocket Park in New Bedford are currently underway.